COVID-19 cases straining Flathead County health system

37 COVID-19 related hospitalizations reported
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Posted at 6:29 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 20:29:13-04

KALISPELL — The rising number of COVID-19 cases in Flathead County is putting a strain on local resources.

The Flathead City-County Health Department (FCCHD) notes the continuing uptick in COVID-19 cases, “placing additional strain on healthcare systems, and public health staff,” a news release states.

FCCHD is working to bring more staff on board to help identify COVID-19 cases, perform contact tracing, and isolate cases and quarantine exposures as rapidly as possible.

However, the high volume of cases means the Health Department is seeing delays of up to a week in contacting positive cases. Additionally, staff can no longer alert all close contacts to their possible exposure to COVID-19.

Case investigators are now focusing their efforts on contacting close contacts that belong to higher risk groups, according to the Health Department.

During the case investigation process, people who are positive cases are asked to notify any other close contacts of their potential exposure.

“One of the best public health control measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is isolation and quarantine, and participation by the entire community will be necessary,” according to the release.

The county is also experiencing sustained community transmission of COVID-19, according to FCCHD. Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 is being asked to self-isolate at home and get tested as soon as possible.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, new loss of taste or smell, unexplained new onset of fatigue, body aches, headache, and nasal congestion.

COVID-19 testing remains available at several locations while at-home rapid test kits also provide reliable results when symptoms are present. People who test positive using an at-home test kit should self-isolate and follow the instructions in the kit for reporting the case.

Click here for additional information about COVID-19 testing. FCCHD is also urging residents to become vaccinated against COVID-19. An online form to receive a vaccination can be found here or by calling (406) 751-8119.

The COVID-19 vaccine is also available at various pharmacies, healthcare clinics, and pop-up clinics. Click here and enter your zip code to find the nearest locations to receive a vaccine.

The Montana COVID-19 tracking website shows a total of 15,249 cases have been confirmed in Flathead County including 14,155 recoveries and 127 deaths.

There were 967 active cases reported on Wednesday. Additionally, 42% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Logan Health was reporting a total of 37 COVID-19 related hospitalizations. Nine patients were in the Intensive Care Unit and seven were on ventilators.

The Wednesday report shows 32 of the patients hospitalized were unvaccinated. All of the patients in the ICU and on ventilators were also listed as unvaccinated.